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 Post subject: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Danbury, CT
Who, you may ask? Ourselves. Stay with me for a second, please.

This forum is home to some great individuals who collectively possess a vast amount of skills and knowledge vital to the survival of the railway preservation field. What those folks decide to do with it is their decision. I would hope that we’d all be willing to help cultivate individuals interested in carrying on the work.

Tweetsie has once again been banished to the railfanning forum. In the past, I’d agree with this action. He is guilty of unchanneled youthful enthusiasm and eagerness to “jump in”. He was advised to pick a more realistic project. He finally took some advice and did just that. He’s starting to get the idea, but I think patience is in short supply. If true, I think that’s sad.

We’ve asked ourselves what’s happening to the level of interest in railway preservation. We should be careful not to snuff out what interest there is.

I have no intention of ruffling anyone’s feathers or stirring any pots. I certainly don’t want to argue with anyone. What I am hoping for, is for a moment of reflection and maybe even some positive and productive discussion that will ultimately benefit our efforts.


Respectfully submitted,

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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:49 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Northern Illinois
Yeah, I agree. I don't think his topic idea was too foamerish or outlandish to warrant being condemned to the railfan board. After all, the thread even contains the word "restoration." So I think that fits the scope of the interchange board.


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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:32 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2258
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
This is a tough call. Youthful enthusiasm is needed, absolutely. Dreams? Oh, yes. How many of our projects started out that way? Quite a few, I'd say.

But, (and there's always a but), a little dose of reality, and of knowing when to listen, is important too. About 2-1/2 years ago, I received a phone call from a 16-year old who wanted to buy a boxcar we had surplused. Plenty of youthful enthusiasm there, and there was also the eagerness to learn and listen. He not only acquired and moved that boxcar, he now owns two passenger cars, which he made arrangements to move over regional railroads. Lots of skills were learned, problems solved, all by asking advice, and listening. Orion Newhall-Vullemont is becoming a young "force to be reckoned with" in railway preservation. He listened and learned, applied the lessons his mentors taught him, and had successes.

One point I'd like to make: this can be a dangerous business. This stuff can and will maim or kill you (and others). Anyone who's involved in operations will tell you that listening to experienced crew members and following written rules will keep you safe-- there's a reason for them. Not heeding those lessons is a recipe for trouble.

Tweetsie has a lot of ideas that are totally not grounded in reality (take the 1401 out of the Smithsonian?). There have been many experienced people here who nicely explained why these ideas are impractical, but he persists in them. Tweetsie, listen to what we're telling you. Take Orion as an example to emulate.

This is not a 100-yard dash. It's a long, long marathon. You don't have to do everything by the time you're 21. We need you and your enthusiasm, and you need to learn from our experience and our knowledge. Eyes and ears open, mouth (and keyboard) less so.

Go find a project, get your hands dirty, get something accomplished: make it better than it was when you first gazed upon it. Do that a few times, successfully, and you will be one of the young leaders.

My grandmother used say, "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach." (well, not any more...).

Good luck

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:35 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Danbury, CT
Tweetsie is merely an example. I hope folks can think beyond that and on a broader scale. Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Danbury, CT
Well said, Howard. As always, thank you for your contributions. I for one, have and continue to learn a great deal from you.

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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:12 pm
Posts: 139
I second the thought. I got involved with a project to restore a GE23 ton switcher, not having a clue as to go about it.
Through the wonderful assistance of many here, with advice, manuals, resources, the project is moving forward.
To pay it forward, I was able to help another here to find the connections on a special starter solenoid, and was glad to help.
I was in Hawaii recently, and met some of the people on the Hawaii Railroad on Oahu, and the Kilohana Plantation on Kauai. The mechanic there also gave me a lot of advice.
Right now I am mentoring a 17 year old to get him involved with our project. We need the young blood.


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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:59 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9137
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
I would hope that nobody really enjoys dousing some young person's fantasies with a barrel of cold water, but unfortunately at times it has to happen. This is part of the learning and maturation process--teaching folks that, for the most part, just because Andy Hardy said "Hey, kids, let's put on a show!", that a barn doesn't instantly transform into a theater with paying customers and top-notch talent. (Oh, man, am I dating my knowledge of vintage entertainment....)

Getting delusional fantasies shot down leads to one of two things: a replacement with the next delusional fantasy, or a gradual adjustment to realistic/possible fantasies. Our problem, especially online, is that the Internet tends to give the former a most visible and eventually tiresome platform, while the latter happens gradually and discretely. The delicate task for us is taking the effort (and it's considerable effort) to distinguish those with a potential future in this avocation from the ones that will be distracted by the next "shiny object" in two weeks. (Or, for that matter, becoming the associate of mine that owned ten automobiles and still had to drive a lease vehicle because none of the ten were roadworthy or legal--and lost them all when a nervous breakdown cost him his job and his ability to pay storage. A locomotive broker known to some here got the Jaguar E-Type.....)

The kid who at twelve listens to county officials carefully explain why they can't rebuild the covered bridge in kind after the arsonist burns it can become the guy at 16 that the county comes back to in order to find out how to move a different covered bridge out of a flood control project into a town for preservation, and decades later consults with the Federal Highway Administration on their manual for covered bridge preservation.


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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:46 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 4066
Location: Maine
I wouldn't say "we're our own worst enemy", but Tweetsie and other enthused youth have to learn a self-discipline as they get into the restoration field. I endorsed his thoughts on helping to maintain the I.C. 0-8-0 as a park display. The engine is going to need some help, and she's already been "safed" as a playground type display. There's a regimen of critical legal steps and safety steps which must be followed. He's obviously too young to take this on as a leader, yet I'd bet an Eagle Scout candidate would get respect and at least heard by the city fathers. Referencing Howard's comment above, this is hard and often dangerous work, with a serious investment in engineering math.
Tweetsie has made a number of wildly off the wall proposals, ranging from building a Y6b to pulling out a number of museum pieces. There's a very solid line between fantasy and possibility. I can think of a bunch of locomotives for potential operation in the future, and I don't want to discourage people who wish to undertake those projects. He can start by power washing, then scraping paint and wielding a paint brush. After he's old enough to be covered by liability insurance he might move on to serious responsibilities and leadership. Flaming about grabbing someone else's locomotive and leading a parade with no followers is a definite non-starter.

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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:56 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5630
Location: southeastern USA
I think the kindest thing you can do to completely unrealistic dreams is to kill them quickly with reality, before they take root to the extent that they can't be lost without a lot of pain.

The first question I always ask when I hear of any proposal is "what's the supported business case that makes this feasible?" If there's not one, the starting point is fantasy, not possibility. If there's not even been consideration of one, it's also incompetence. Truly immature people will take it as an insult; more mature people will take it as a challenge and start to do their homework to see if their proposal will hold water. The less mature people will grow up eventually (we hope), the ones doing their homework will learn a lot about how to better consider a next proposal, or actually demonstrate there are in fact real possibilities in theirs. Win - win in both cases.

There's a lot of loud public concern about "safe spaces" for people to be as irrational, emotionally reactive or ignorant or otherwise delusionally self destructive at society's expense without being called on it. This doesn't develop thick skins or rational thought. We need thick skins and rational thought. We also need to expose children to real world conditions and let them learn from their mistakes - this morning's TODAY SHOW contained some talk about how Kentucky's governor called out his states school systems for cancelling classes for cold weather in conditions that Chicago kids don't even notice. he's right - adapt and learn about wearing a coat when you need to. This is much the same.

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Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:26 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 449
The OP of the thread that was moved to Railfanning posted a photo of 1894 in which it appears to have not had much care for a while. OP claims to "hail" from Winston-Salem, which is about 11 miles from Clemmons where 1894 is located. R. Hahn posted a photo from May 2016 showing 1894 looking in very good cosmetic condition and raised the issue of the age/date of the OP's photo. OP issued a throw away one-line response and disappeared without discussing the discrepancy in the photos. So if OP "hails" from a place that is a 15 minute drive to the artifact in question, why doesn't the OP respond as to the correct current condition of the artifact?

Is it possible that the mods know more about the OP than they can share and are moving the OP's posts to Railfanning for a reason?

A while back after the 503 episode, I posted a new thread on park engines in which I asked/suggested that it would be good to have one thread on RYPN that is a sort of primer on the steps (practical, technical, political, legal) necessary to preserve these locomotives. Two knowledgeable people, Mr. Glueck and Mount Royal, posted good starter lists in response to the OP's thread. Transferring this type of information to a reference thread would be a great asset to all, including the younger generation looking to get involved.


Last edited by Scranton Yard on Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:58 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 338
“The first question I always ask when I hear of any proposal is "what's the supported business case that makes this feasible?" If there's not one, the starting point is fantasy, not possibility.”

What’s the supported business case for pulling a NC&StL locomotive out of a city park and restoring her to operation so she can pull a few excursions each year?

Or buying 4 miles of track in Pennsylvania in hopes of creating a steam powered shortline with wooden coaches? Hah! That’ll never last. ;)

Most of our ideas are pretty crazy.


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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Danbury, CT
Ok, we’ve covered reasons to “squash” fantasies, dreams, ambitions, etc. I agree that it is necessary at times. I’m a fan of developing thick skin. After twelve years in the military, ten years in the fire service, and ten years in railroading, I certainly have!

If you’re going to squash someone, be ready to redirect them. Here’s where we try to refocus that youthful energy, excitement, and ambition. This requires patience and perseverance. Don’t just knock someone down and say, “come back when you’ve grown up.” Help them. If you’re not ready to do that, then send them to someone who will or just leave it be.

Like it or not (I sure don’t), the newer generation does not respond well to the methods we came up in. It’s frustrating, but concessions or compromises may need to be made in some areas to ensure a future workforce exists to keep the efforts going.

Now, I have led several horses to water in my time and there are those that just wouldn’t drink. You can’t get all of them to drink and I will not insert a feeding tube to force feed them either. It is important to recognize when to help and when to stop. If the horse does decide to drink, don’t be quick to cut him off.

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Last edited by Mount Royal on Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:08 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Danbury, CT
Scranton Yard wrote:
The OP posted a photo of 1894 in which it appears to have not had much care for a while. OP claims to "hail" from Winston-Salem, which is about 11 miles from Clemmons where 1894 is located. R. Hahn posted a photo from May 2016 showing 1894 looking in very good cosmetic condition and raised the issue of the age/date of the OP's photo. OP issued a throw away one-line response and disappeared without discussing the discrepancy in the photos. So if OP "hails" from a place that is a 15 minute drive to the artifact in question, why doesn't the OP respond as to the correct current condition of the artifact?

Is it possible that the mods know more about the OP than they can share and are moving the OP's posts to railfanning for a reason?

A while back after the 503 episode, I posted a new thread on park engines in which I asked/suggested that it would be good to have one thread on RYPN that is a sort of primer on the steps (practical, technical, political, legal) necessary to preserve these locomotives. Two knowledgeable people, Mr. Glueck and Mount Royal, posted good starter lists in response to the OP's thread. Transferring this type of information to a reference thread would be a great asset to all, including the younger generation looking to get involved.


Point of clarification as to prevent confusion for others...... The “OP” mentioned here is not the OP of this particular topic thread. Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:32 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 449
Mount Royal - OK. Thanks for the heads up. I edited for clarity. Let me know if you see anything else.


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 Post subject: Re: Our own worst enemy?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:33 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Danbury, CT
Scranton Yard wrote:
Mount Royal - OK. Thanks for the heads up. I edited for clarity. Let me know if you see anything else.



All good. Thanks for your comments!

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